Mayor cites Coast Guard for rescuing TIP victims PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 16:35

The rescue of some 200 would-be victims of human trafficking by operatives from the Philippine Coast Guard in Taganak Island in Tawi-tawi over the weekend was another tacit example of the strong partnership between different agencies—both government and non-government in the fight against trafficking in persons (TIP).
This, as Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday cited the Philippine Coast Guard in Western Mindanao for its commitment in the anti-human trafficking drive when it intercepted a motorlaunch loaded with 252 passengers, mostly are suspected to be would-be TIP victims in Taganak Island last Saturday. The vessel was on its way to Sabah, Malaysia.

The mayor personally met the would-be victims when the vessel- ML Wendelene was escorted by Coast Guard personnel to the Ben Go wharf in Baliwasan yesterday morning. From the private wharf, the passengers were transported to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) center in Mampang for in-take procedures.

“We are elated that the Coast Guard was able to rescue the would-be victims”, Mayor Lobregat said stressing however that during in-take procedures, the authorities will determine the status of each and every person on board the vessel.

Initial interviews, according to the mayor, reveal that some of the passengers were on their way to Malaysia on their own while the rest are would-be victims of trafficking in persons. “Some of them really have gone on their own, they are undocumented and may reach the same fate (TIP victims) if caught by authorities”.

Overseeing the unloading operations at the Ben Go wharf yesterday morning were Coast Guard Zamboanga Station Commander Perfecto Eden, Assistant City Prosecutor Darlene Pajarito, City Social Welfare Officer Francisco Barred, representatives from the DSWD regional office and representatives from other concerned agencies.

The vessel had a capacity of only 58 passengers. It is owned by a businessman from Canelar. The captain’s vessel was nowhere to be found, according to the authorities.

As unscrupulous individuals continue with their human trafficking trade, the authorities—both government and NGOs are bent on curbing the global problem through various initiatives or innovations.

Over the past months, a number of rescue operations for would-be TIP victims have been successfully conducted by concerned authorities. Investigations and eventual filing of charges have been done and are continuously being done to bring the perpetrators to the bar of justice.

The public-private partnership in the effort to minimize if not eradicate human trafficking in the city has been cited as a good governance practice. — Sheila Covarrubias